Museums and cultural institutions dedicated to the procurement, study, and display of cultural objects are at a critical moment in their history, as the decolonisation of their ownership, representation, accessibility, and funding are being brought to the forefront. Art Historian Sophie Berrebi succinctly stated, “Todays’ museums are undergoing a profound mutation that is fed by social, economic, and political factors, which force them to reconsider their mode of action, their routines of collecting and exhibiting.”
Moving a Still Artifact: Film critiques the museum led by filmmaker Jessica Sarah Rinland (Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Another), draws from the long and rich thread throughout cinema history centred around collecting and museum collections; sites of cultural significance have proved to be, and continue to be productive subjects for films. Participants will explore various modalities of filmic discourse to create a film produced from their enquiries into museums, the objects that live within them, archival and found footage. By exploring the museum through film – from an architectural setting or didactic experience, to the subversive – the workshop will focus on the filmmaker’s potential to transform these cultural institutions. Expose the “other side” of the museological practice, of collection, knowledge production, disposition and appropriation using the visual and sonic medium of film.
When reflecting on the depiction of cultural objects in Statues Also Die (1953) – Chris Marker, Ghislain Cloquet, and Alain Resnais’ critique of the ways Western museums decontextualise and display African art objects – Sophie Berrebi describes how the attributes of film – image, sound, and montage – act as revelatory devices, exposing the “other side” of a cultural object “creating a rupture in the museum’s order”. This investigation will allow for reflection upon the history of museums i.e., cabinet of curiosities and private collections, as well as historic house-museums and virtual object and institutional tours.
Session 1: Intro to films that critique the museum
Session 2: Display, Archive, Access
Examples include films by Chris Marker, Amie Siegel and Nicolas Galanin, and readings by Jorge Luis Borges, Tony Bennett and James Clifford.
Session 3: The Making of objects and their voice
Examples include films by Patrick Hough, and readings by Martin Heidegger and Svetlana Alpers.
Session 4: Site visit and shoot
Session 5: Replicas and Trade
Examples include films by Ilsa Barbash, and readings by Mari Lending and Sophie Berrebi.
Session 6: Repatriation
Examples include films by Nii Kwate Owoo and Christian Nyampeta, and readings by Miranda Lowe.
Session 7: Presentation and Crits of student work
This course will be delivered via online distance learning, and students will require a computer or other internet connected device.
This course is taking place for 7 Tuesday evenings (7pm to 9pm) from 10th October to 21st November 2023, with a break on 31st October.
Booking closes at 1pm on 10th October.
Image credit: An Excavation, dir. by Maeve Brennan, UK, 2022
If you have any questions about this course, please get in touch with email@example.com or call +442031084774.